Warren Bickel appointed to national scientific advisory committee on tobacco products

Warren Bickel

By Jim Stroup

Warren Bickel directs the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, was recently appointed to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The charge of the 12-member national committee is to review and evaluate safety, dependence, and health issues relating to tobacco products and to provide appropriate advice, information, and recommendations to the FDA commissioner on matters related to the regulation of tobacco products.

Bickel, who is also a professor at the VTC Research Institute and a professor of psychology in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has devoted much of his scientific career to understanding addiction. His research focuses primarily on processes in the brain that support dysfunctional decision-making, including addiction, and he seeks novel therapeutic means to repair those processes. He places special emphasis on future discounting, the process involved in preferring instant gratification over a later health benefit.

To complement this research, in 2011, Bickel launched the National Quit & Recovery Registry, which seeks to understand how people succeed in overcoming addiction, whether to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or harmful behaviors. The registry has proved so popular around the world that Bickel has since changed its name to the International Quit & Recovery Registry.

Bickel served as the Wilbur D. Mills Professor of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences before joining the VTC Research Institute in 2011. He earned his doctorate in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas.

Bickel’s term on the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee will extend through January 2017.